GATLINGBURG, Tenn. (WRIC) — Three people are dead, more than 14,000 have been evacuated and more than 250 buildings destroyed in the wildfires that have been plaguing Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.
Richmond, Virginia’s 8News caught up with a local couple whose vacation home burned to the ground moments after they evacuated late Monday night. The family lost everything — their clothes, valuables, medicine, electronics — but told 8News reporter Parker Slaybaugh they are thankful to have escaped with their lives.
“I was literally screaming and crying, praying to God to get us through,” said Michelle Corvin, who was celebrating her 50th birthday. “I thought we were going to die.”
Michelle’s husband, James Corvin, added, “I saw the fire down below, so I got in my truck and drove down there and I immediately could tell that it was coming our way fast. So, just natural instinct, I knew I had to get my wife and our animals out of there.”
The couple only had time to grab their two dogs before running out of the house.
“Once I got them all in the truck I drove right through the fire,” James said. “We couldn’t see, but luckily we have been up there enough I knew the road and I just drove straight until we got through the fire.”
Michelle said, “I had one dog on my lap and as we drove through, I was literally screaming and crying and praying to God to get us through.”
After 15 minutes, all that was left of the couple’s vacation home was rubble. They said they’re thankful they left when they did.
“We called that our second home,” James Corvin said. “We would have burned up. Because there is one way in and out.”